Hello from Sunday night, which turned into a Monday post…again

Well, I must admit that this operation has knocked me on my butt!

Here I was all lah-di-dah thinking, “right, op on Monday, yoga class on Wednesday.” Well, not exactly what I managed. Actually, not even close to what I managed.

I did some research and asked my mother, (who is an anaesthetist herself), and the long and short of it is that the anaesthetic drugs settle in the fat cells and take a while to clear, and the longer the procedure, the longer the clearing. It seams that the 90 minutes might take up to one month for my body to get rid of the toxins. Damn, wish there was such a thing as organic anaesthetic. (Don’t say they could have hit me over the head…lol) So I’m plodding along feeling awfully tired and moody and no yoga at all.

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There have been some lovely and bright spots in my week though, The weather’s been so warm and sunny that I washed all the quilts and feather pillows and hung them in the sunshine to dry, had a lovely harvest of organic grapes from the garden, and I also caught up with some of my children for a fabulous curry supper under purple lights…mmm prawn vindaloo. We had Ziggy with us and she was so good that she slept almost thru the whole supper.

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Who else loves curry? Do you make it at home? I hardly ever do, except maybe for butter chicken or something like aloo gobi, but I think I should make it more often.

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Also, I’ve been feeling a bit stuck at home and have not had much energy for art, so I decided to rearrange things round here to look a bit more late summer-autumnal. I decided I wanted to look at this large oil of a late summer meadow. I painted this several years ago, but it’s one of those paintings I really love, so have never sold it.

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Over the years I’ve built up a collection of vintage decoy ducks, (I buy one each time I visit Quebec), and I decided to have my lone goose on the mantle. Behind it I put an oil I painted when I was 20 something, of aspen in the autumn.

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Further along are some potted plants and a wooden quail/partridge I found in the forest close to my father’s cabins.

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On the other side are the two stupid white cats, (as my children call them), a little art piece of fog in an old tobacco tin I did last year, and a little porcelain of my great grandmother. I have to tell you the story of the stupid white cats: so I found one about 20 years ago and just loved it. Then the second one shortly after that. These two hung around the fireplace off and on in two previous houses for years, and, about five years ago, my children thought it would be funny to start buying me every white porcelain cats they come across, and now I have seven! They still come and go, but these two original ones seem to be hanging around more these days.

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I’m hoping for some cooler weather soon, (the garden sure needs it), and, to help with the cooler weather wishful thinking, I’ve brought in some firewood.

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So now that I like my living room I have to go redecorate the rest of the house…just need a bit more energy.

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But for now I’m rearranging my wardrobe, filling the house with garden dahlias, and enjoying every warm, late summer day.

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I aten’t dead yet!

That line is one of my favourite lines in fiction.
For anyone who doesn’t read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, this line is attributed to Granny Weatherwax, a witch, who lives outside the small village of Bad Ass, which incidentally is what my children figure that the scar on my neck will look like. :D

Well, it’s been a few days, hasn’t it? I guess you could say that people post traumatic operations should probably take it easy, and I guess I’ve over-done it round here and now I’m in bed feeling not so hot, but over-all everything is going to be fine and ‘I aten’t dead yet.’

This lovely, fragrant posy ended up by my front door yesterday. It came with some lovely pages about planting an all white garden, an interesting art exhibit and indoor plants, with a little note: “From Rosemarie from the Art in the Garden tour, I read your blog.” Isn’t that the sweetest thing?

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Thank you so much Rosemarie, thank you for thinking of me. :D Please say hello so I can get to know you.

I know I should have been resting post op, but after two months away form them, Kerstie brought all three of our little girls over and we got to play with some of the toys I brought for them from England and also to start putting together the loveliest, but also complicated, wooden puzzle made after my friend Jackie Morris‘ drawing of dragon hatchlings.

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And while Ziggy was having a nap, Binky and Bunny redecorated the doll’s house.

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Now at this point I think I should have kissed my little and big ones goodnight and went to bed, but a supper came up with all of my children and I just couldn’t say no!

Jonathan made reservations at a downtown restaurant called Gyu-Kaku Japanese Barbecue.

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Most fun ever! A central grill and loads of dishes equals cook your own supper.

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And so we did.

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Chef Adam and Chef Jonathan hard at work.

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And what do you have for desert when there’s a grill right in front of you? Smores! And lychee ice cream.

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We had such a lovely time…except maybe a bit too much sake and wine.

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And got home way too late!

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Today we had monster truck races…

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…and monster chocolate chip cookie faces…

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Nourishing soup, fresh squeezed orange juice and tea, and I do believe we all felt better afterwards.

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And this evening, in the warm quiet of my studio, Clover and I finished the dragon hatchling puzzle, put it back in its box, and finally I decided I needed rest.

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And so I went to bed early with Terry Pratchett’s Feet of Clay, and my lovely pages from Rosemarie. For all of you who have never read any of Pratchett’s Discworld novels, I’m so jealous!!! I reread them quite often and I love them to pieces, and to think, you have this whole world to discover and delight in…you lucky ducks you.

Thank you everyone for thinking of me, and big hugs form me, (the bride of Frankenstein), to you. I’ll be back soon. :D

Hello from Sunday night

Do you guys do this?
Do you sometimes wish for things that aren’t instead of feeling grateful for things that are?
Yeah, I’m all over that these days.

Simple things; like not revelling in these warm, late summer days and wishing for cooler days of autumn so I can wear my sweaters, knowing perfectly well that when those cool days come, I’ll be wishing for the warmth of today.

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I think that a couple big things are bugging me these days.

Thing one is that I just miss Robbie so much, and thing two is that tomorrow I have to be brave and check myself into surgical day care for a small procedure which I’m dreading.

Now you probably all know that I’m the product of two doctors, so it doesn’t make much sense because I’m just pretty au fait with all things surgical, so I guess it’s the full moon.

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Still, this week/weekend has been a pretty fabulous one, (ocean and river time), and C and I even caught a special pop-up yoga class, outside, in a parking lot, under the deep blue sky.

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We’ve been looking for a new yoga studio, and must say that we’ve found a couple pretty fabulous ones, but then fell in love with the beautiful energy of one certain tiny tattooed yogini, so maybe we think we may have found the perfect fit for us.

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Lately, I’ve been noticing red. Is red the new black or something? Anyone notice that? Maybe it’s an autumnal thing, but red seems to be all over the place. Personally, I’m all over that too. I love red.

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And unusual food things. You know, It was cranberry festival time in the country today. Maybe that why red was all over the place. Maybe it’s a cranberry thing. I had cranberries in my arugula and gorgonzola with roasted pear salad at lunch. That little sweet hit of red with the sharp cheese and the peppery arugula was just wonderful.

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I also had coconut prawns with a mango chutney. Who ever thought to roll shrimp in coconut laced batter? Brilliant, wasn’t he?

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There was a bit of antiquing in the country today. I fell in love with a doll. The doll in this mosaic image to be exact. My children wince when I bring home old toys, and especially “creepy old dolls”, as they’re commonly known round here, but I don’t care. Now that I’m you know, like an adult and have my own house, I’ll buy all the creepy old dolls I want…so there! (stamps foot) But actually, this doll looks very much like the memory I have of a cherished childhood doll which was left behind in the Czech Republic when we escaped. Maybe I’m always trying to rebuild what’s been lost.

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Maybe I’m just in a funny mood tonight.

So I guess I better also tell you all, (because by now you’re all going, “come on V, what’s it all about), that the procedure I have to undergo tomorrow is not a sudden thing. I’ve been watching a growth slowly enlarge in a salivary gland over the better part of a year, and ultrasound and MRI confirm that there is a tumour which just shouldn’t be there, so out it goes.

Out it goes tomorrow morning and off to pathology, where I’m pretty sure the diagnosis will be non malignant, because statistically 99% of these kinds of things end up benign, and also, the scans don’t show any other enlarged glands.

Still it’s a bit on the unnerving side for me round here. (And most of all the Vanity Smurf in me doesn’t really want a scar on my neck… Oh have to tell you a funny story: the surgeon said, “we’ll just put the incision in this wrinkle because incisions tend to heal better in natural creases.” and I said, “what wrinkle!?!!?” And he said, “well, OK, but eventually you would get a wrinkle here.”)

But for tonight, I’ve got a wonderful wild salmon in the oven and it’s fragrant and salmony, stuffed with lemon and red onion slices and a large bunch of rosemary, thyme, fennel and marjoram…

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…and I’m about to go sit over here with one of these and relax and think about the full moon.

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Sharing with Judith and the Mosaic bunch and catching up with everyone when I can. Biggest hugs to everyone.

Friday night disaster…averted!

I have a Land Rover story to tell you, but rather than show you the gruesome happenings, I’m going to show you the lovely vintage things I bought the other day.

So, I had to run into Oxford today and Robbie and I made a deal that I would undercoat the chassis of the Landi first thing this morning and then, while I’m in Oxford, R would put the floors back in.

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“Just get under the car,” Robbie said, “I’ll spread out a carpet remnant for you. It’ll be easy. Half an hour and you’ll have it done.”

Then he said, “Here, use this scrapper and this screwdriver and this wire brush to just brush off the loose bits before you paint it.” :D

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So I tied my two feet of hair into a braid, got into R’s overalls, climbed under the car and started scraping the tar goop and loose rust off…which started falling all over the carper remnant, R’s overalls, and my two feet of hair!!! And the more I moved under the car, the more it got into my hair.

About an hour into it R came to see how I was getting on.
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And to help me with the job because we greatly underestimated the amount of work.

About three hours later we were finally finished and I cleaned my hands with the turpentine and ran my fingers thru my fringe and my fingers wouldn’t go thru it.

OMG! How will I get tar and enamel latex out of my hair!

No time for hair rescue, tied it up and drove into Oxford.

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I love to walk the 3 miles into the town centre from the park and ride and today I had a beautiful walk in a strong wind…which blew my hair around and tangled the tar into it even more.

Now I know that the theory is that one shouldn’t have two feet of hair past their 30s but stuff that for a game of soldiers. I love having long hair and, what’s more, I love being a brunette, so cutting the tar out and using solvents was not an option.

So, back home, and I ran a really hot bubble bath, soaked in it for a very long time, washed my hair with R’s strong detergent Pantene instead of my gentle organic shampoo, squidged an entire tube of thick, gloopy conditioner thru my hair in two treatments and combed thru it with a fine toothed comb. The resulting hairball would have made my long haired Morgan jealous, but, a final little comb thru with a bit of coconut oil detangler, and my hair is back to soft, lustrous, normal.

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Disaster averted.
And I have a beautiful, rust free Land Rover (Landi update to follow) :D

Hello from Sunday night

This always happens, and, we really should know better.
Towards the end of the summer, Robert and I go a bit mental and take on a huge home project. This weekend we decided to build a carport against the end of the garage and this required chopping down a huge damson plum, moving ton’s of wood and Jaguar car parts out of the way, and general over-the-top energy expenditure.

By Sunday afternoon we were gonners (British for tired/moodswingy/divorce central!).

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We took a walk in one of our favourite places, The Whomping Willow Walk. The Whomping Willow is actually a huge horse chestnut, but Chloe named it that when she was about 9yrs old, and the name stuck. :D

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I tend to trip over four leaf clovers and find them everywhere, but felt lucky to find this one because we usually see deer in this area, and it felt like a good omen to me.

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And just as we walked into the forest, there he was! A beautiful little muntjac deer walked across our path.

We stopped instantly, but he noticed us and bounded into the forest.

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I stood up on a stump and tried to look for him, but he was well camouflaged in the bracken and grasses.
I stood there for some time listening to the bird song and the rustle of the great trees and bracken in the wind.

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Then we walked on, past the thistle sending itself into the forest…

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…and to the Whomping Willow, (which is actually a horse chestnut)…

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…and past the Whomping Willow to the alley of yews.

Someone must have planted these yews years ago. They are so huge and make a dark bower over head. Someone keeps a small, child-like fort under one of the yews. It has a few stumps for a table and chairs and a woven branch roof. Chloe used to pretend it was fairies inviting children to have a play.

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We walked to the end of the yew alley and turned back for home.

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On our way out of the forest, we spied the muntjac grazing in the field. The wind was howling and we were upwind from him, so he didn’t notice us at all. We watched him graze all the way back up the path past the wildflowers.

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And then we drove home.

Sharing with Judith and all the lovelies at Mosaic Monday.

An art day

It’s been a funny kind of a day today, and I suppose there’s something about the moon or this heat or something, because I woke up feeling super down.

R and I were listening to the Sound of the 60s on BBC 4 over our breakfast in bed. Usually we end up bopping away to the silly songs, but today the songs just made me feel weepy. Especially the song Blackbird.

And I don’t even know why…that’s the drag of it all. I mean, nothing really happened at all! Maybe it’s last night’s bad sleep or a couple small annoyances that added up to a major downer…I don’t really know. But R just hugged me thru it and told me that all we are are tiny, insignificant carbon-based lifeforms, spinning gently on this tiny planet, around a little burning star, in an obscure section of the Milky Way, a tiny galaxy in a universe of billions of galaxies, with other life forms thinking that they’re all alone out there, and right now, this moment, everything’s fine right here with us…and it was.

Today was going to be an easy, stay at home kind of day for me. R had a client come today with his mini to have R map the engine, and so I took the afternoon to paint.

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I started the kingfisher the other day on a page from a 1920’s copy of Grieg’s Sigurd Jorsalfar, and so I finished him today.

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But what I really wanted to paint was a blackbird. One page didn’t seem like enough, so I took out two middle pages from the same Grieg and started these.

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Many more layers of dark paint and then I’ll stand them on fence posts.

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I was looking thru some photos and found a few of some fireweed, (willowherb in the UK). Maybe I’ll paint a bunch of fireweed behind and around my blackbirds.

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Actually, I’ve been taking a bunch of random country photos these days because I think I’d like to paint an oil of a pastoral scene of some kind and my photos usually serve as terrific reference for paintings.

I snapped this one, (like a lot of them), while R was driving yesterday.

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You know, at the time I took this one, I thought to myself, “will that dead spiderweb show up” and then I though, “No, it probably wont.”

Well, actually, what I managed was to give myself a webby Dali moustache. :D

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Big hugs, and I hope you all have a brilliant, happy and relaxing Sunday, which ever corner of the ol’ globe you’re in.

Inner Eye, Susan’s wonderful drawing challenge

Last week, Ariane announced that Susan had offered “Inner Eye” as this weekend’s drawing challenge.

I happily jumped at the chance to participate. Inner eye, how hard can that be?

Turns out that it was pretty hard for me. I don’t mean difficult as in technique, I mean difficult as in feeling satisfied with an image to depict the subject.

I think I drove Robert crazy with the constant reevaluating.

At first I broke down the inner eye, the third eye, the Sanskrit Ajna, the Shiva Hakini, three petals of the white lotus, moon and sun, my yoga practice…there’s too much, you know? In the end I was most satisfied with the white lotus, and that’s what I started to draw and then paint.

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The painting evolved any old way along my favourite “as the cell divides” method. I used pencils and inks and pens and acrylics and watercolours and charcoals.

I still have Mucha in my mind and so it took on a somewhat Art Nouveau bend. I still have Klimt in my mind and so some of Klimt’s colours and shapes popped in. And, by this morning, I put this painting down and had a big sigh.

I’m not satisfied with it.

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The more I looked at the white lotus on that yellow, golden background, the more I wasn’t satisfied with it, the more I came to Poe.

The lotus reminded of my favourite Poe story, Silence, a Fable, and the following:
“The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue –and they flow not onwards to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion. For many miles on either side of the river’s oozy bed is a pale desert of gigantic water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other in that solitude, and stretch towards the heaven their long ghastly necks, and nod to and fro their everlasting heads.”

And, while I read it, I looked at the amazing art of William Heath Robinson.

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And this afternoon I picked up a page of Chums; a boy’s magazine from 1910.

I started to draw the white lotus again, ghastly and ghostly in it’s sickly hued morass, sighing, unto the others.

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This time I’m satisfied. :D

Come have a look at Susan’s site and our friends’ wonderful ideas about this challenge.

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Theo died

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The truth about love is that it’s a beast with sharp razor blades for teeth. It must be. How else do you explain the pain in my heart and these burning tears?

Robbie was with him in the end. Robbie brought him home and dug a hole under the roses in our Oxfordshire garden and laid Theo to rest wrapped in his turquoise blanket.

And we cried together. And we talked for hours and remembered him.

In our life together with his and her’s houses and his and her’s countries, he was something we truly shared. Our little shining light. A spirited little boy, full of personality. He found us four years ago. He was sickly and emaciated and we nursed him back to health. We never knew how old he was or how long we got to have him, but we needed him as much as he needed us.

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Friday creative energy

It’s been a topsy-turvy sort of day round here. Robert has had to return to England and I have obligations here for a few more weeks, and so, missing him very, VERY, VERY HUGE AMOUNTS, I always flip into loads of work and projects to make the time flow by as smoothly as possible.

I spoke to R this evening and told him we’ve had hail, rain, sun, sleet…all the above.

He said that somehow we’d figure it was his fault for leaving. YEAH…that’s it! :D

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Today I took my lonesome self into the silversmith studio.
I have it in mind to maybe make 10 pieces of jewellery before the art in the garden show.

So armed with countless cups of tea, garden tulips and and some imagination, I got to work.

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I made this little beach glass and carnelian ring. What do you think?
I’m worried that it’s still all amateur hour here.

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I did have a terrific amount of frustration making this ring though; including two melted bezel cups and an incomplete soldering of bezel to ring, which came apart as I was trying to polish it and I had to start all over again…for the third time. I started to despair that I’ll ever be a decent silversmith.

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But I did have a success! I did make this feather which I rather like.

I have to figure out a better way to score silver though. (so much I don’t know yet). I think I might make this into a little necklace. I fancy hanging a few feathers like this from a little silver branch. That might be nice.

I’m so glad you’re all sticking with me in this discovery of the silversmithing process.

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I’ve been moving the garden parrot tulips around with me and finally they ended up in the last of the evening sunshine and looked so lovely I took these photos.

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Perhaps tomorrow I’ll concentrate on painting for the art show and give my poor inept silversmithing muse a break.

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When it rains…it’s just fine

There’s nothing wrong with the rain.
I think that the problem is really all this sun! And it hasn’t rained in days.
Yup, it’s been that kind of week round here.

I’m having a miserable, rotten cold, PMS and migraine, plus, today, a pipe burst outside, just under the patio.
Thank you Universe! That’s a lot of Zen you’re asking for. :?
I think you can completely understand the contents of my shopping cart:

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OK, to tell the truth, one of those chocolate bars did go back onto the shelf, and there were also bananas (not pictured).

I think we both feel a bit…meh…

Chloe’s university is on reading break this week and she’s taking full advantage of that.

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I’ve cleaned up and organised the library/family room and it’s been lovely hanging out there with my books and my biggest mug of hot Earl Gray tea.

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This is also the only room in the house with a TV. (We’re not big on TV and I fully subscribe to the notion that one TV in a house is enough, (if not too much), for any family). Along with the one TV policy is also the basic cable only policy. Which costs $5 more than the basic internet feed and means that we basically get about 20 channels and only about three are worth watching for the occasional news cast, although it’s usually so sensationalised that it winds me right up.

But it’s been lovely having those three channels to watch some of the Olympics. And that’s exactly what C and I did with our tea and our blankies. We watched the opening ceremonies. Did anyone watch them? I must admit that the part where communism was depicted was tremendously difficult for me to watch, having escaped from Prague and from communism. But I reminded myself that it’s all history and individual people who also suffered, who also would have chosen a different way if they could have. And here was my beautiful child beside me watching, also feeling angry about the lack of human respect and gay rights and captured whales, and she was mustering the same amount of Zen I was to rise above it and enjoy the spectacle.

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I only managed one more page in my personal journal. The words which spoke to me formed these two sentences:

“Approach the known fortress. The list of formidable attractions are jewels for the shop and community.”

I didn’t know why I was moved to draw my own personal Ganesha on that page because the words were telling me that I should believe in myself, that the gifts I have, that I can bring to you all, are like jewels.

And then the pipe burst.

And then I approached the fortress that is plumbing and hidden shut off valves behind little painted over panels, and main water valves in the house and overbearing tiredness and sniffy nose and crampy tummy and headache…and still have to go make supper… then I knew. Ganesha, remover of obstacles. Fortresses beyond the Etsy shop, beyond the business of my art. Approaching the fortress of every day life. I’m so very grateful that I’ve created my own personal Ganesha to remove the obstacles in my path.

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I’m on the mend now, my good friend Leo has been by and told me the house won’t fall down and that he’ll replace the pipe just as soon as the weather warms, supper is made and I’m about to catch up on today’s Olympic highlights on one of the three channels and drink my tea. Go team Canada/England/Czech Republic! (Yeah I know, I have a split personality nationality) :D

In the mean time, should you need your own personal Ganesha, then just let me know and I’ll be very happy to make you one and send him out to you.

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